NBA: Clippers pull even with Jazz, but Kawhi Leonard leaves early

Kawhi Leonard (right) and Bojan Bogdanovic at the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center in Los Angeles, on June 14, 2021.
Kawhi Leonard (right) and Bojan Bogdanovic at the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center in Los Angeles, on June 14, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Kawhi Leonard recorded 31 points and seven rebounds before exiting with an apparent injury, and the Los Angeles Clippers notched a 118-104 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday (June 14) night to tie their Western Conference semi-final series at two games apiece.

Paul George also scored 31 points and collected nine rebounds as Los Angeles won their second straight game in the best-of-seven series.

Marcus Morris Sr scored 22 of his 24 points during a first half in which the Clippers led by as many as 29 points.

Donovan Mitchell poured in 37 points to tie the Utah franchise play-off record of six straight 30-point outings held by Hall of Famer Karl Malone (three in 1995, three in 1996).

Game 5 is on Wednesday at Salt Lake City.

Leonard left the contest with 4min 35sec remaining and did not return.

His departure came less than a minute after he grabbed at his right knee following a collision with the Jazz's Joe Ingles.

Utah's Mike Conley (hamstring) sat out and has missed all four games of the series.

Ingles scored 19 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 for the top-seeded Jazz, who shot 42.9 per cent from the field and were 17 of 42 (40.5 per cent) from three-point range.

Fourth-seeded Los Angeles made 46.8 per cent of their shots and hit 15 of 37 (40.5 per cent) from behind the arc.

Ingles drained a three-pointer to pull Utah within 112-102 with 2min 10sec left before Los Angeles scored six of the next seven points en route to closing it out.

Utah trailed 68-44 at half-time but trimmed the deficit to 14 early in the third quarter.

George tallied five points during a 9-3 burst to give the Clippers an 84-64 advantage with 4min 12sec left in the stanza.

Los Angeles took a 94-73 lead into the final stanza.

Luke Kennard's three-pointer increased the Clippers' advantage to 101-75 with 10min 37sec remaining before Utah answered with a 19-6 spurt to move within 13 points with 3min 56sec to play.